Monday, June 29, 2009

Wild Carrot

Here's the Wild Carrot, Daucus carota, also known as Queen Anne's lace. My neighbor mentioned that the flowers can be book pressed and coated with sparkles to make Christmas tree ornaments. Pretty cool, eh?

From Wikipedia:

"Like the cultivated carrot, the wild carrot root is edible while young, but quickly becomes too woody to consume. A teaspoon of crushed seeds has long been used as a form of natural birth control; its use for this purpose was first described by Hippocrates over 2,000 years ago. Research conducted on mice has offered a degree of confirmation for this use—it was found that wild carrot disrupts the implantation process, which reinforces its reputation as a contraceptive. Chinese studies have also indicated that the seeds block progesterone synthesis, which could explain this effect."

"Wild carrot was introduced and naturalised in North America, where it is often known as "Queen Anne's lace". It is so called because the flower resembles lace; the red flower in the center represents a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. The function of the tiny red flower, coloured by anthocyanin, is to attract insects."

From Wild Flowers Worth Knowing:

"A pest to farmers, a joy to the flower-lover, and a welcome signal for refreshment to hosts of flies, beetles, bees, and wasps, especially to the paper-nest builders, the sprangly wild carrot lifts its fringy foliage and exquisite lacy blossoms above the dry soil of three continents. From Europe it has come to spread its delicate wheels over our summer landscape, until whole fields are whitened by them east of the Mississippi. Having proved fittest in the struggle for survival in the fiercer competition of plants in the over-cultivated Old World, it takes its course of empire westward year by year, finding most favorable conditions for colonizing in our vast, uncultivated area; and the less aggressive, native occupants of our soil are only too readily crowded out. Would that the advocates of unrestricted immigration of foreign peasants studied the parallel examples among floral invaders!

Still another fiction is that the cultivated carrot, introduced to England by the Dutch in Queen Elizabeth's reign, was derived from this wild species. Miller, the celebrated English botanist and gardener, among many others, has disproved this statement by utterly failing again and again to produce an edible vegetable from this wild root. When cultivation of the garden carrot lapses for a few generations, it reverts to the ancestral type—a species quite distinct from Daucus Carota."

"Daucus carota." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 17 Jun 2009, 15:11 UTC. 28 Jun 2009 <>.

Blanchan, Neltje. Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. New York, 1917. 142-3. Web. Google Book Search. 28 Jun 2009.


  1. Ah! These photos are so lovely, so delicate! I have read backwards through your past week's posts and have so enjoyed the quotes from the old field guides. Speaking of pressing flowers, this is the second year I have pressed seaweed while out on the islands- it was a craze in the Victorian era and many of the 100+ year old samples are on view in the tiny Shoals museum- they are quite beautiful!

  2. Welcome back! :-)

    Thanks! I'm having such fun poking through the old books online.

    I would like to collect and press at least the tree leaves. whether simply for research or as a display, I don't know yet...